When Amazon demonstrated the brand new Echo Studio at an organization occasion in September, I used to be blown away. This was among the finest audio I had ever heard from a bit speaker, filling a room of a whole bunch of journalists and sounding prefer it was many audio system related collectively.
My preliminary thought was that rival Sonos, which makes a speciality of great-sounding Wi-Fi audio system, was in hassle.
However not so quick.
After spending a number of hours with the $200 Studio, out Thursday, there can be no have to schedule a profit for Sonos. Not this week, anyway.
The Studio does sounds nice. It is Amazon’s finest sounding speaker ever. However at residence, simply not as jaw-dropping as in Seattle.
And the $200 Sonos One, which solutions to each Alexa and the Google Assistant and lives in my residence, sounds fairly comparable. At the least in my humble opinion.
To sweeten the pot and entice shoppers to purchase Amazon’s most costly Echo speaker thus far, it is selling that “you have by no means heard an Echo like this earlier than.”
Proper. As a result of it sounds so a lot better than common Echo’s, which endure from tinny, AM like sound.
However Amazon did not need to go away it at that. It sells arduous the addition of “immersive 3D audio,” from Dolby Atmos, which brings immersive, film theater-like separation to the expertise.
Amazon describes Atmos as “putting music objects resembling vocals and devices in a 3D house so you possibly can think about listening to voices from above you, drums to the facet, and so on.”
In a professional setting, Atmos is superior. For example, once I caught an Atmos demo on the historic Capitol Information studio earlier this 12 months, I really may hear audio throughout me, as execs performed again Marvin Gaye’s basic “What’s Going On” over 16 audio system. The sound was distributed into a number of of the audio system, with the road chatter that opens the track showing in entrance and the conga gamers behind the room.
However at residence, even once I requested Alexa to play the “Better of 3D music” playlist, as Amazon advised I do, it was arduous to listen to a lot of a distinction coming from the Studio, which really has 5 audio system within the physique of the unit, and the smaller Sonos One, which did not playback in Atmos.
If you wish to hear what 3D Audio is all about on the Studio, Amazon gives the 3D playlist free of charge, together with artists like Girl Gaga, Ariana Grande, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Kool and the Gang and the Jackson 5.
Amazon lately launched an upgraded tier of Amazon Music for higher-resolution audio, bringing the common $7.99 month-to-month subscription fee to $12.99. If you wish to hear HD audio with Atmos, Amazon suggests downloading the Music app and searching for the HD notation on the track observe.
Echo audio system are available all sizes and styles and have discovered their largest reputation as small gadgets that folks use as kitchen radios and to entry the Alexa private assistant to set timers, lookup recipes and function their sensible houses.
Nice sound has not been a part of the equation, particularly for the best-selling Echo, the hockey puck-like Dot, which has AM high quality audio. For most people, they do not thoughts. Audiophiles are a distinct bunch.
As for Sonos, the corporate has constructed a loyal following of parents who wished to take heed to streaming music the old style method, on audio system, however sans speaker wire. Many people have amassed a number of collections of Sonos audio system to connect with each other and take it from one – like, say, one Sonos One related to 3 bigger Sonos Play 5 audio system in my storage.
Now that basically rocks the home.
And I can ask Alexa or Google to do the rocking, which is even higher.
Comply with USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham